Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Persecution Has Officially Arrived In The U.S.

Persecution was one of the noteworthy signs of this generation, and like the other birth pains, we should expect to see this continually increasing as we approach the Tribulation. 

We already know that the number of Christians killed annually, just for their faith exceeds six figures, which represent numbers never before seen in human history - far more than the infamous killings which took place during the Roman Empire. 

The growing investigation into the IRS is taking some interesting twists, as not only constitutional Tea Party activists were targeted, but Christian and Jewish groups as well. It's one thing to read about persecution, but this time it comes to the doorsteps of every Christian in America. 

This growing abuse of Christians by the U.S. government is chilling. Sure, we have seen persecution growing in school systems and local government officials over the years - but never to this degree, in a systematic manner including top levels of government. 

Is this really happening in America?

Understandably, this is part of end times prophecy and we should expect as much - but consider the extreme supernatural component of this whole episode. What is to fear regarding Christians? Are Christians beheading people in the streets? Are Christians advocating violence? What is it about following Jesus that makes us that concerning to the current U.S. administration?

Just some food for thought. 

Perhaps no other IRS official is more intimately associated with the tax agency's growing scandal than Lois Lerner, director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Division. Since admitting the IRS harassed hundreds of conservative and Tea Party groups for over two years, Lerner has been criticized for a number of untruths—including the revelation that she apparently lied about planting a question at an American Bar Association conference where she first publicly acknowledged IRS misconduct.

Lerner was appointed head of the FEC's enforcement division in 1986 and stayed in that position until 2001. In the late 1990s, the FEC launched an onerous investigation of the Christian Coalition, ultimately costing the organization hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours in lost work. The investigation was notable because the FEC alleged that the Christian Coalition was coordinating issue advocacy expenditures with a number of candidates for office. Aside from lacking proof this was happening, it was an open question whether the FEC had the authority to bring these charges. 

One of the most shocking things about the current IRS scandal is the revelation that the agency asked one religious pro-life group to detail the content of their prayers and asked clearly inappropriate questions about private religious activity. But under Lerner's watch, inappropriate religious inquiries were a hallmark of the FEC's interrogation of the Christian Coalition. According to Bopp's testimony:

FEC attorneys continued their intrusion into religious activities by prying into what occurs at Coalition staff prayer meetings, and even who attends the prayer meetings held at the Coalition. This line of questioning was pursued several times. Deponents were also asked to explain what the positions of “intercessory prayer” and “prayer warrior” entailed, what churches specific people belonged, and the church and its location at which a deponent met Dr. Reed.
One of the most shocking and startling examples of this irrelevant and intrusive questioning by F EC attorneys into private political associations of citizens occurred during the administrative depositions of three pastors from South Carolina. Each pastor, only one of whom had only the slightest connection with the Coalition, was asked not only about their federal, state and local political activities, including party affiliations, but about political activities that, as one FEC attorney described as “personal,” and outside of the jurisdiction of the FECA [Federal Election Campaign Act]. They were also continually asked about the associations and activities of the members of their congregations, and even other pastors.

The Christian Coalition was ultimately absolved of any FEC wrongdoing in 1999, and Lerner was promoted to acting General Counsel at the FEC in 2001 before eventually moving on to the IRS.  Bopp, who's all too familiar with the aggressive and inappropriate tenor she set leading the FEC's Enforcement Division, says he became concerned about what would happen as soon as Lerner joined the IRS. "When she left the FEC, I thought, 'Wow, this means the not for profit division is gearing up politically,'" he said. "It didn't bode well, because of the way [the FEC] approached cases."

Today, the Thomas More Society offered over 150 pages of analysis and evidence to the House Ways and Means Committee about repeated IRS harassment of pro-life organizations.
At the request of Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL), Thomas More Society President Thomas Brejcha, Executive Director Peter Breen, and Special Counsel Sally Wagenmaker, prepared the legal memorandum with solid evidence of IRS harassment of pro-life organizations dating back to 2009.

The memo details the history of IRS misconduct in the cases of three organizations represented by the Thomas More Society. The abuse dates back further than the now publicized 2010 complaints and extends beyond the IRS’s recently exposed Cincinnati office to also include the tax agency’s California operations in the charges of blatant bias.

According to TMS, in 2011, the El Monte, California, office of the IRS began harassing Christian Voices for Life of Fort Bend County, Texas. In a statement, TMS wrote: “In a series of questions penned by Exempt Organization Specialist Tyrone Thomas from the California office, the IRS asked a series of unwarranted questions ordering Christian Voices for Life without any foundation, to explain its content, message, and prayers as if they were engaging in highly offensive or criminal behavior.”
The Coalition for Life found itself under IRS scrutiny when it applied for nonprofit status in October 2008, during the closing months of the Bush Administration. Nearly a year of interrogation included an illegal demand from the IRS’s Cincinnati office that coalition board members sign a pledge not to picket Planned Parenthood. Other demands of the group included information about the “content of the group’s prayer meetings, educational seminars, and signs their members hold outside Planned Parenthood.”
Daniel and Angela Michael of Small Victories, a pro-life organization, were singled out by an IRS agent in Chicago who called them every two to three weeks with demands for a year.
During the testimony and numerous stories that have come out this week, it was also revealed that the IRS has been targeting conservative Jewish groups for similar treatment, especially pressuring them about support for Israel, while groups perceived as supporting liberal causes and the Administration have sailed through the IRS review process.
The Thomas More Society also represents clients who are suing the Department of Health and Human Services over the Obama Administration’s demand that religious groups provide health insurance to employees that funds contraception and abortions in violation of religious conscience.
Almost since Day One of the Obama Administration, the Department of HomelandSecurity has issued reports warning of the dangers posed by conservative groups and military veterans, conflating Christians and Orthodox Jews with Left-wing-inspired groups such as the KKK and neo-Nazis.
More recently, the Air Force and Pentagon have moved toward a policy of cracking down on Christians who evangelize by sharing their faith with other enlisted personnel. The planned policy change has raised alarm among conservative groups because it seems to be driven by the zealously anti-Christian Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
Taken altogether, and viewed against President Obama’s self-professed preference for Muslims, the Administration’s targeting of Christians and Jews is chilling. Still the Administration pretends as if nothing unusual has gone on.
These are the roots of tyranny, which we are watching grow deeper before our very eyes.

In the wake of the “Arab Spring” across northern Africa, Islam has been on the rise throughout the continent, and with it, violent persecution against Christians.
Christians in Tanzania, for example, are on alert after an Assemblies of God pastor was killed while attempting to stop Muslim youth from killing two Christian meat cutters. Pastor Mathayo Kachili died on the scene from injuries sustained during the brutal beating by the Muslim teenagers.

International Christian Concern says that this attack set off a two-week string of violent anti-Christian attacks in Tanzania’s northwestern Geita region.
Only days after the pastor was killed, Muslim militants on the island of Zanzibar killed a Father Evarist Mushi, a Catholic priest.
International Christian Concern’s Africa analyst William Stark told WND in an interview that the priest’s murder links violence in Africa to terrorist activity throughout the region.
“After a Catholic priest was shot and killed, a text message was sent out tying the attackers to Somalia, thus proving the link of radicalization between Zanzibar and Somalia. It is likely that many of the attackers have been trained in Somalia by al-Shabaab, but that is pretty hard to prove,” Stark said.

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